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Original Issue

A Ridiculously Short Oral History of ...The Heidi Game

On Nov. 17, 1968, the Jets and the Raiders met in Oakland for a typically cutthroat AFL game.

Joe Namath

Jets QB The Raiders were a mean group. Back then the name of the game was Kill the Quarterback and the MVP was the Most Valuable Physician.

Curt Gowdy Jr.

Son of the game's play-by-play voice In those days the game got a three-hour time slot. I don't think they ever had a live pro football game that ran over the slot.

NBC is scheduled to air the hit movie Heidi at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Dick Cline

NBC's broadcast operations supervisor for the East Coast (to Bob Costas, in 2002) At quarter of seven the people who wanted to see Heidi started calling in to find out if Heidi was going to be on the air on time.... Then, as it got to seven, the football fans started calling in.

Pat Marcarelli

Jets fan All the guys were at my dad's house in New Haven, including my godfather, who was a bookie. The Jets look like they have the game under control with less than a minute left. And then, what the heck?

At seven the Jets are leading 32--29 with 65 seconds left to play. Cline can't contact his superiors about staying with the game because all the calls had blown 26 fuses in the switchboard.


It was football, and then it was a field of flowers or something and the big letters: heidi. My godfather lost it. Was he winning bets; was he losing bets?

As running back Charlie Smith scores to give Oakland the lead, Heidi pleads with her Aunt Dete, "Please don't make me stay here." East Coasters empathize. The Raiders tack on another TD after the Jets fumble the kickoff.

Jennifer Edwards

Actress who played Heidi I was 11. I wasn't aware of what had happened until the next day. My grandfather and dad [director Blake Edwards] were huge football fans, so I knew it was pretty big.

Gowdy Jr.

After the game my dad went down to the trucks and met with his producer, Don Ellis, and commented on what a great game it was. Don said, "Well, Curt, half the country never saw the finish of the game."


I was on a plane from New York [six or seven years ago], and I see Joe Namath getting on the plane. I thought, Oh, come on. After we took off, I leaned in and I said, "Um, do you remember the Heidi Game?" And he said, "Of course I do." And I said, "I was Heidi." He just beamed.


I haven't seen the movie. But I was tickled pink to meet her!


I always say that on my tombstone it's going to say: JENNIFER EDWARDS: SHE WAS A GREAT MOMENT IN SPORTS.

For a less ridiculously short oral history of the game, go to EXTRAMUSTARD.SI.COM


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